UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has visited Alexander Stadium after the newly transformed Birmingham venue was handed over to Commonwealth Games 2022 organisers.
Johnson and Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, met with volunteers and medal designers ahead of the multi-sport event which will take place this summer.
They also watched young athletes from Birchfield Harriers train at the stadium which is one of the main venues for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, playing host to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the track and field events.
Johnson’s visit coincided with the announcement that £6.5m of National Lottery funding will be split between 21 organisations as part of the UK’s £35m investment into Birmingham 2022. The fund is aimed at helping governing bodies to develop accessible opportunities to engage with disadvantaged communities.
Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth said: “Lasting impact depends on the creation of long-term, inclusive and local opportunities for people to get active, and tackling the inequalities that make it harder for some groups to take part in sport and activity.
“Today’s funding is an opportunity for us to work innovatively with sports to build a national activity legacy, targeting the people and areas who need the most support to get active.”
Alexander Stadium has undergone a £72m (€84.1m/$88.7m) revamp to make it Games-ready, with its capacity to permanently increase from 12,700 to 18,000. Temporary seating will mean that the stadium can host up to 30,000 spectators during the Games.
Birmingham City Council last week handed over Alexander Stadium to Birmingham 2022 organisers with final enhancements now set to be made to the venue ahead of the event, which takes place from late July to early August.
After the Games, the stadium’s temporary overlay will be removed to leave a legacy facility that will serve as a focal point for sport, health, wellbeing and community activity in the local area.
Images: Birmingham 2022